Thursday, March 01, 2007
The Age of Bob Roberts
This clip is from Tim Robbins' 1992 satire, "Bob Roberts," which tells the tale of a charismatic right-wing folk-singer-turned-Republican-senate-candidate whose sleaziness and dirty tricks know no bounds. These days "Bob Roberts" looks more like a documentary than the mockumentary it supposedly is.
One "Bob Roberts" subplot could've happened yesterday, or last month, or tomorrow. When a newspaper smears Roberts' Dem opponent, incumbent Senator Brickley Paiste (played by Gore Vidal), by publishing a picture of him with a 16-year-old girl, insinuating that he's carnally involved with her, Paiste angrily denounces the dirty trick and explains that the girl is a friend of his granddaughter, who was dishonestly cropped out of the photo.
The media pretty much ignore the explanation and just describe Paiste's response as a "denial." And in later news reports, they only refer to the allegation itself and don't even attempt to confirm whether the alleged facts are true or false. In other words, the smear against Paiste becomes a Republican said/Democrat said story -- and in some reports, the media even left out the "Democrat said" part.
That in a nutshell is how the GOP Smear Machine works in conjunction with its presstitutes in the so-called "liberal media" (SCLM). The SCLM gleefully regurgitate the GOP's dishonest smears while ignoring all evidence and facts that tend to exculpate the Dem target. So, of course, the smears tend to stick.
And, just as in "Bob Roberts," there's little that the smear target can do to fight back effectively. You may recall that right before Election Day 2006, the SCLM went into hysteria mode over a botched joke from John Kerry. The setup of the joke and the prepared text made it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the punch line of the joke targeted George W. Bush -- but that didn't stop Bush regime propagandists, the GOP Smear Machine, and their presstitutes in the SCLM from insinuating that Kerry was insulting American troops.
Apparently determined to avoid the kind of slow and measured (and ineffective) response that characterized his reaction to the Swift Boat Smearers, Kerry almost immediately and forcefully lashed out at the those who were deliberately and dishonestly distorting the intent of the joke. Problem is, the SCLM pretty much ignored the actual content of Kerry's response, usually describing it (as they talked over the clip) as Kerry refusing to apologize. The SCLM also tended to ignore all documentary evidence exculpating Kerry, such as the setup clip and prepared text, while continuing to frame the story as "Demands for Kerry Apology Continue."
(As an aside, I remember that one of the few right wingers who didn't go along with this smear scam, Andrew Sullivan, said that he was convinced by Kerry's explanation after he saw a graphic of the prepared text on TV. Where did he see it, CNN? Of course not. MSNBC? Yeah, right. Fox "News"? You gotta be kidding. No, Sullivan saw the prepared text on "The Daily Show," a fake news show on a comedy network!!! Yep, Jon Stewart demonstrated that he is truly the most trusted name in news...at least when compared to the presstitutes and propagandists on Fox "News," CNN [excepting Jack Cafferty], MSNBC [excepting Keith Olbermann], NBC, CBS, ABC, etc., etc.)
This incident clearly demonstrates that reacting strongly and forcefully against smears from the GOP Smear Machine is not gonna save any Dem. That response will either be ignored, as it was in Kerry's case, or the Dem will be further savaged as "unhinged" or "out of control" or "just plain crazy."
What has to happen is that we--we the people--have to neutralize the GOP Smear Machine by screaming bloody murder each and every single time they target a Dem with these dishonest attacks. We the people have to make the GOP Smear Machine the issue.